ASUS Sabertooth P67 Motherboard Review

The Sabertooth P67 motherboard is the latest member of ASUS' TUF series of products. The board is built to be champion, with some of the best performance we have seem to date out of the Intel P67 platform.

Introduction

ASUS is one of few top tier computer component manufacturers with a history spanning decades for delivering some of the most robust and high performance products in the component space. The company is most revered among the enthusiast circle's, outlasting and outperforming many of their competitors in this highly lucrative product market. ASUS has mastered the art of combining cutting edge technology and board design to synthesize remarkable products. Their TUF series of boards is the latest incarnation of this trend, with their newest Intel P67 based board one of their most unique designs yet.

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The ASUS Sabertooth P67 board utilizes the Intel P67 Express chipset, offering support for the following technologies: the Intel LGA1155 Core i3, i5, and i7 processor lines; DDR3 memory operating in Dual Channel memory mode up to 1333MHz officially; and either NVIDIA SLI or ATI CrossFireX graphics mode using matched video cards. ASUS chose to integrate several onboard devices in to the Sabertooth P67's design: 4 SATA II 3Gb/s ports and 2 SATA III 6Gb/s ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 capable) on the Intel P67 controller; 2 SATA III 6Gb/s ports on the Marvell controller; 2 e-SATA ports on the JMicron JMB362 controller; 14 USB 2.0 capable ports (8 in rear panel, and 3 onboard header supporting 2 ports each); 4 USB 3.0 capable ports (2 in rear panel, and 1 onboard header supporting 2 ports each); 2 IEEE 1394 ports (1 in rear panel, and 1 onboard header supporting 1 port each); 1 Intel GigE Ethernet port in the rear panel; Realtek 8-channel HD audio codec with integrated S/PDIF optical output port; and a PS/2 keyboard / mouse port in the rear panel.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Mainboard Specification List:

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Packaging

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The Sabertooth P67's box art is simple and to the point, showcasing the board name and the TUF series branding on a brushed black chrome background. ASUS chose to include the following components: locking connector SATA drive cables; a 2-way NVIDIA SLI connector; the rear panel shield; the Q-Connector modules; and the normal complement of manuals and drivers discs. Additionally, ASUS included a certificate of reliability, outlining the testing done against the board, and a warranty pamphlet outlining the board's 5-year warranty details. The Q-Connector modules allow for an easy interface for connecting in to the motherboard headers. You simply plug in your front panel jumpers in to the white connector and the USB 2.0 jumpers in to the blue connector block, and then plug both blocks in to the motherboard headers. It makes for a much easier install for those typically hard to reach header areas.

Board Layout

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The Sabertooth P67 features the typical ASUS board design, spacious and clean with an innovative cooling solution thrown in for good measure. The board itself is covered by a full board overlay, with only the slots, sockets, and heat sinks left uncovered. The overlay, called TUF Thermal Armor by ASUS, is full of tiny holes for airflow, with a mounting mechanism provided for direct fan integration if desired. No revision or serial numbers were evident anywhere on the board due to the placement of the Thermal Armor overlay. For the Sabertooth P67's power regulation circuitry, ASUS integrated high quality polymer solid-electrolyte capacitors and metal alloy chokes into the board's design.

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The Sabertooth P67's CPU socket area is barren, with enough room to mount even the bigger CPU coolers. The socket uses the standard LGA1156 style mounting design for cooler placement. Directly to the left of the socket is a hole for mounting a fan to the Thermal Armor overlay, if additional heat dissipation is necessary. The ASST_FAN header is located to the upper edge of the fan hole. To the upper right of the CPU socket are the 8-pin ATX12V power connector and the CPU_FAN and CHA_FAN1 headers.

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The Sabertooth P67's 4 onboard DDR3 memory slots are located directly below the CPU socket in a bi-colored, 4-by-1 configuration. Dual Channel memory mode activates with modules placed in like colored slots, with the tan slots being the ASUS recommended primary use slots. Notice that the memory slots themselves are single latch, with the locking latch located on the right side of the board to alleviate contention between video card placement and memory module seating. Directly below the DIMM slots are the 24-pin ATX power connector, the PWR_FAN header, and the MemOK! button. The MemOK! button can be used to reset memory settings to default system fail-safe settings in the event of a non-booting system due aggressive memory settings.

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The board's Intel P67 Express chipset is located directly below the primary PCI-Express x16 slot, covered by a low profile heat sink whose top is level with the Thermal Armor board overlay. Directly below the chipset heat sink are the onboard SATA ports and the USB 3.0 port header. The Marvell SATA 3 ports are the white colored ports on the right side of the assembly. The Intel P67 control SATA 3 ports are the tan colored ports in the middle, with the black colored ports to their left being the chipset's SATA 2 ports. The CMOS clear jumper and front panel header are located to the lower left of the chipset, with the COMM port header and standby power LED just above them. Note that the standby power LED illuminates when an active power source is connected to the board's power connectors.

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ASUS included a total of 6 card slots in to the Sabertooth P67's design: 2 PCI-Express x16 slots, 3 PCI-Express x1 slots, and 1 PCI slot. Along the outer edge of the PCI slot are the CHA_FAN2 header, the 3 USB 2.0 headers, the IEEE 1394 header, S/PDIF output header, and the front panel audio header. Note that while you cannot see it nor get to it without removing the board's Thermal Armor overlay, the CMOS battery is to the lower left of the primary PCI-Express x16 slot.

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The Sabertooth P67 houses the following ports in its rear panel assembly: a PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo-port; 8 USB 2.0 ports; 2 USB 3.0 ports (purple colored USB style ports); 1 Intel GigE Ethernet port; 2 e-SATA ports (red and green colored ports); and 6 analogue and S/PDIF optical audio output ports.

TurboV EVO

For overclocking the Sabertooth P67 board from within windows, ASUS provided us with version 1.00.70 over their TurboV EVO applet, which integrates seamlessly in to their AI Suite utility.

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The TurboV EVO applet can be access via the Tool button after opening the AI Suite application. The TurboV EVO screen is broken in to two separate tabs - TurboV and Auto Tuning. Notice the CPU bar along the right side of the app window as well. The TurboV tab displays current system voltage and bus speed settings, allowing for configuration of all displayed settings. Within the Advanced Mode tab are other adjustable system voltages, while the CPU Ratio tab allows for manual configuration of the current CPU multiplier setting. For all settings listed in the applet, the configurable settings shown mimic the settings available through the BIOS menus. The Auto Tuning tab houses a BIOS controlled overclocking interface through the use of pre-defined overclocking levels - Fast and Extreme.